It is no surprise that the winter months can play havoc on the skin. The combination of wood heat and/or other home heating sources causes your home to have relatively low humidity, thus leaving your skin flaky and with dry itchy patches. Dry itchy skin patches can be bothersome and unsightly and, left untreated, can lead to broken skin and even infection. Therefore, it is necessary to hydrate and moisturize the skin as much as possible.
Below are a few tips to ward off dry flaky skin and eliminate dry skin patches:
1. Know your skin type! If you have oily skin, consider a humectant moisturizer. These types of moisturizers are water based and have very few oils in them. They will prevent dry skin from cracking by increasing the skin's natural pliability. Look for ingredients such as glycerin and lactic acid.
For those with dry skin consider a moisturizer that traps in the natural moisture in the underlying layers of the skin. These types of moisturizers are called occlusive moisturizers and contain ingredients such as petroleum, mineral oils and/or silicone. My skin is dry and sensitive, so for an allover body lotion I use a fragrance free lotion such as Eucerin. To cure the dry skin patches that occasionally pop up I use a little jojoba oil on the area.
2. Selecting the right cleanser for your skin type is also critical to fight off dry skin. A foaming body wash is more drying than a lotion-type body wash. So if you like the suds use sparingly. I like my Olay body wash, it leaves my skin feeling clean and does not dry it out. If your body wash leaves your skin feeling tight and "squeaky clean," chances are you are stripping your skin of its natural oils.
3. The best time to moisturize is right after a shower while the skin is still damp. I always moisturize after a shower and then apply a little more before I go to bed at night.
4. Exfoliation is also helpful. It sloughs off dead skin cells and improves the absorption of your moisturizer. Once a week I will add a little cornmeal to my body wash and it does a wonderful job of exfoliation. It is also eco-friendly and inexpensive.
5. We read a lot of articles on moisturizing and cleansing and most articles focus on the face. The neck and décolleté area (aka V zone) really needs attention, too. The skin in these areas is very thin and is very prone to sun damage and wrinkles. When applying your moisturizer do not neglect this area.
That is my skin care regimen to fight off dry skin and dry patches. Because I burn wood all winter long, I notice that when I skip my moisturizing routine it doesn't take long for the dry patches and flaky skin to appear.
Are there any extra steps you take to care for your skin during the winter months? I would love to hear them.
Carol Belanger is an author of 300+ skin care recipes and is a Shine Beauty Guru. I hope you will stop by visit my Shine blog which offers skin care and hair care tips and product reviews. Or, stop by and visit Complete Skin Care Therapy for skin care and hair care recipes and products for all your beauty needs.